Ron Paul
2003 Ron Paul Chapter 119

Ron Paul Don’t Meddle With Religion In Vietnam

19 November 2003

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Don’t Meddle With Religion In Vietnam
19 November 2003

2003 Ron Paul 119:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to this ill-conceived and ill-timed bill. I would like to remind my colleagues that according to our own Constitution, Congress is prohibited from making any law “respecting the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof.” Yet are we not doing that today — albeit in a country some 10,000 miles away? Why on earth are we commending one particular church in Vietnam in the name of “religious freedom”? At the risk of being blunt, what business is the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam of the United States Congress? The answer, of course, is that this legislation is of a much more political than a religious nature: this bill tells the Vietnamese government how it should enforce its own constitution, commits the United States government to promoting religious freedom in Vietnam, and tells the U.S. embassy staff in Vietnam to “closely monitor” religious issues in Vietnam. It is an attempt to meddle in the affairs of Vietnam and force them to adopt the kinds of laws we think they should have. Mr. Speaker, as much as we value our own religious liberty, we must realize that setting the example of the benefits of a society that values such liberty is much more effective than demanding that other countries pass the kinds of laws we want them to pass. The unintended consequences of this otherwise well-meaning legislation is that relations with the Vietnamese government will likely suffer, making it less likely that Vietnam’s leaders look favorably upon our own history of religious liberty.

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